From the Director – February/March 2018

“Sometimes life calls on you even when you don’t raise your hand.”

This quote from the 2018 Newbery Medal book, Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly, spoke to me not only because I began my library work as a children’s librarian, but also because it seems to sum up library work in general. Every day, our librarians are called upon to help our community. Whether it’s to work behind the scenes to help a neighborhood theater group create a public poetry performance, or to collaborate with an elementary school to create a tutoring center to help bridge the educational gap, I am proud to note that when we are called upon, we answer. And our answers speak volumes about our service to our community. We believe that eliminating barriers to education and opening our doors to everyone—regardless of power, profit, geography, or politics—is more important than ever.

I am equally proud of our Library Board of Trustees. While the board delegates the actual day-to-day operation of the library to the director and staff, it never gives up its ultimate responsibility for the success of the library. We are fortunate to receive their dedicated oversight and service.

January was a month of celebration for libraries and books. The Association of Library Service to Children announced the 2018 Notable Books and recordings for children and the Notable Books Council announced the 2018 Notable Books for adults. I encourage you to borrow them, download them, or listen to them. If you can’t find a title, ask a librarian for help.

Explore the cosmos with us when the Natural History Museum brings its StarLab mobile planetarium to Main Library February 19 -23 in celebration of Astronomy Week. Bring your family to learn about the stars and the planets. Our February 19 Science Café at Woods Branch features Shaker resident Dr. Steven Hauck speaking on Mercury and Beyond—How and Why We Explore the Planets.

In February we debuted GoChip Beam a new type of device for lending movies and television series. Each device contains a small Wi-Fi router, rechargeable battery, and solid state storage preloaded with five feature length movies or an entire season of a television series, all enclosed in a 3.5″ x 1″ stick. Check them out and binge watch to your heart’s content.

If you haven’t yet participated in Northeast Ohio’s largest book club, the One Community Reads initiative now is the time. Borrow the book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond, discuss it with others at PubReads at Academy Tavern on March 12, and then meet the author March 15 at Playhouse Square when he discusses his book or watch it live streamed to Main Library.

March is a month of music when The Matt Horwich Trio performs on Sunday, March 18, and poetry when Christine Howey and Tim Joyce read at Woods Branch on Monday March 19, and art when we celebrate the 19th Annual Barbara Luton Art Competition with a gallery opening reception on Sunday, March 25. Finally, if you hear the all too familiar phrase, “There’s nothing to do” over spring break (March 30 –April 6, bring the family to Woods Branch to help color our giant wall mural!

Amy L. Switzer
Director, Shaker Heights Public Library